"Public lobbying disclosures reveal that universities like Yale, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, and the Universities of Iowa and Colorado spent tens of thousands of dollars — in just the past year alone — lobbying the Trump Education Department on regulations, including on Title IX," according to a recent article in the New York Times. With Betsy DeVos and our current administration, they got what they wanted - a major rollback on civil rights for sexual abuse survivors nationwide. Shame!
Under the guise of positive language (see..."the transparency of the proposed regulations will help empower students to hold their schools accountable") the new Rules set out by the Department of Education significantly narrow the scope of what actions count as sexual harassment under Title IX. Under the Trump administration’s definition, harassment must be “'so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access' to education. Some courts (though fortunately not all) have said that even a rape does not count under this standard because a one-time act of violence is not 'pervasive.' That means a victim of rape (not to mention other less severe forms of sexual misconduct) might never see her school investigate her claims, let alone remedy them." NYT 11/27/18.
Additionally, schools no longer have to respond or provide accommodations to students abused or harassed outside of a school program or activity. What does this mean for college students raped, stalked or harassed in a dorm room? What happens to the child who is raped by a teacher who kept him or her after school?
Lastly, the Department of Education interprets the deliberate indifference standard to mean if the school does anything... anything at all for a student following harassment, it is enough. So, if a student is raped during a school program or activity, properly reports the assault, and the school responds with the worst possible response - say, offering the student a chance to move to a different class for a large fee, or providing extra tutoring with the rapist in the same room, it may be considered enough under DeVos's interpretation.
The new changes proposed by DeVos and the current administration effectively strip Title IX of its teeth and roll civil rights back by almost 50 years. The only people who can remember how horrible that time was for women's rights in this country are those older than this 43 year old lawyer. Guess how many women were able to able to attend law school in that sexist era? (75% fewer than today. https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/legal_education_and_admissions_to_the_bar/statistics/jd_enrollment_1yr_total_gender.authcheckdam.pdf)
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